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Students can vote in municipal election despite being temporary residents

By Becky McMullen [1]

BELLEVILLE – Sam Marks says she doesn’t know enough about what’s happening in Belleville to vote in Monday’s municipal election. But she could if she wanted to.

“I’ve only been here a month. I know it’s important for my voice to be heard, but I just found out I can even vote, and now I have to make decisions that will effect the community I’m spending at least three years of my life in,” the first pre-health student said.

Marks says she wants to vote, but she doesn’t know much about the community yet.

“It’s hard to decide what changes I want to vote for when no one’s told me what the problems are,” she said.

In Monday’s election, any student living on residence or in the community temporarily will be able to cast a ballot. All the student has to do is bring their government ID and a piece of mail confirming their address to city hall, according to Matt MacDonald, the city clerk.

Some students say they knew they could vote but have no interest in doing so since they are only here for a few years.

“I barely care about the politics of my own hometown,” Calum Armstrong, first year construction student, said. “Why should it matter what I think about this community when I’m going to be gone in a year anyway?”

Nicole Martins is a first year paramedic student. She says she wished she would’ve known more about the election last month.

“I have a lot to think about. I wish there had been someone in the school telling us that we had this chance. I feel like the candidates not reaching out to the school more was a wasted opportunity on their part.”

Other students say they’re too preoccupied with school and their social life to worry about voting.

“I’m sure plenty of students know they can vote. When you’re in college you’re just too young to care,” said Tyler Hull, a second year manufacturing student.

Online voting is open now and the polls are open Monday from 10 a.m to 8 p.m.